Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday barred the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and 11 others from unconstitutionally arresting and extraditing Senator-elect Buruji Kashamu to the United States of America on drug related offences. Other respondents in the fundamental human rights’ suit are: the Chairman, Nigerian Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Also included are: the Director General, Department of State Security (DSS), The Interpol, the National Central Bureau (NCB) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
The respondents also include: The Clerk of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Nigeria Customs Services (NCS, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Kashamu had approached the court seeking nine declarative orders which are: an order restraining the defendants and their agents from arresting, detaining, or otherwise effecting his abduction upon some allegations. An order directing the Clerk of the National Assembly to accord him every facility and privilege due to him as a senator-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A declaration that arrangements being made by the defendants, in collusion with United States’ security operatives in West Africa and his political opponents led by General Olusegun Obasanjo to abduct him and forcibly transport him to the United States of America on the basis of allegations which have been the subject of an investigation by the Interpol and litigation in competent court in United Kingdom and concerning him,
which he had been exonerated, are illegal, unlawful, ultra vires and constitute a breach of his fundamental rights to freedom of movement as enshrined in Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.” Delivering his judgment, Abang struck out reliefs 1, 2 and 3 sought by Kashamu, stressing that they coerced Chief Obasanjo who was not a respondent to the suit.
“The none joinder of Chief Obasanjo is petal to prayers 1,2 and 3 on this issue. I agree entirely with the counsel representing the Clerk of National Assembly that Chief Obasanjo ought to have been joined by the applicant. Though no relief is sought against Obasanjo, but I cannot agree with the applicant that Obasanjo colluded with the 1, 2 and 6 respondents to abduct him to the US.
“Reliefs 1 to 3 are incompetent and are hereby struck out, but I have not dismissed these reliefs,” Abang ruled. The judge, however, awarded the cost of N10, 000 against the NDLEA chairman in favour of Kashamu which must be paid before any other steps would be taken. He awarded another N10, 000 in favour of Kashamu against the NSA, AGF and NSCDC.
Abang also ruled on reliefs 5 and 6 in parts, stressing that the court has not stopped the police or the NDLEA from conducting its investigations or possible arrest and extradition but it must be done within the extradition Act Laws. “The respondents cannot be perpetually restrained from arresting the applicant but are restrained from unlawful arrest of the applicant without compliance with the provisions of the extradition act,” he said.
The judge also ruled that the senator-elect be sworn in as a senator by the Clerk of the National Assembly and maintained that the IGP would provide security for Kashamu as he has been doing for every Nigerian. The judge , however, refused to grant Kashamu’s request for Relief 6 where he asked for policemen to protect him at all times.
The Clerk of the National Assembly was also ordered to accord Kashamu every right and privilege due to a senator-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and allow him to take the oath of office as a senator representing Ogun East Senatorial district.